“Historia que tú hiciste, historia por hacer” (“The history you’ve made, the history to be made”) the words of the famous song “Hala Madrid y Nada Más” (Hala Madrid, Nothing More) blast through speakers and invade the atmosphere of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as fans line up to buy their tickets on a Monday afternoon. Complete families of tourists wearing their usual white and purple Real Madrid apparel pose for pictures in front of the sublime stadium and rush to post in their social media so they show the world their passion. Fans do not necessarily speak Spanish, but in here, they communicate through the language of soccer as they greet each other with “Hala Madrid.”
Real Madrid is not the only first division team that belongs to the providence of Madrid, currently; there is also Atlético de Madrid, Getafe C. F. and C. D. Leganés. It is not a secret that locals go crazy for their teams all year round, which has made the capital a major soccer city with an exceptional variety of attractions for those mad about the world’s most popular sport. Visitors oftentimes gather in hopes of experiencing a match of their favorite team, taking pictures with their stars or simply visiting places that have become symbols. As a soccer fan myself, I knew that my visit to Madrid would not be complete without visiting places related to the sport I love, therefore, after an extensive research I am suggesting the following places if you are seeking the ultimate soccer fan experience in Madrid.
Visit the stadiums
Before traveling to Madrid, do not forget to book your tickets for a soccer match or if you prefer to see the historic side of the clubs, go ahead and schedule a stadium tour, which can be guided or non-guided. For English speakers, the stadiums usually offer an audio guide for six euros ($6.75). Mauricio Beltran, a 25-year-old tourist, reflects on his visit to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by saying, “I loved stepping on the field and watching the whole stadium around me, I remember I took a deep breath and realized the number of legends that have stood on this place.” Just like Beltran, a visit to the stadium of the FIFA Best Club of the 20th Century can be an unforgettable experience.
Atlético de Madrid does stand behind Real Madrid when it comes to offering a memorable experience at their stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano located around 35 minutes from the city. According to los colchoneros (common nickname for Atlético de Madrid fans that means “the mattress makers” and refers to their shirt colors because it resembles the traditional red and white striped Spanish mattresses used back in the post-Civil War era.) official website, the stadium “meets the highest standards of comfort, security and visibility” and is the third largest in Spain.
Celebrate like the champs
Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid are not only recognized for their majestic stadiums but also for their long-held rivalry and in order to make their celebrations around the city more emblematic los merengues (common nickname for Real Madrid fans that comes from the popular dessert “meringue” made of whipped egg whites and sugar. The color of this dessert is white as Real Madrid’s official color). gather at Plaza de Cibeles whereas los colchoneros do so at Fuente de Neptuno (Neptune Fountain). The popular celebrations fill the streets of Madrid several times during the year and since these are historic touristic places, visiting them is convenient, free and open to the public. Fuente de Cibeles is located in the Cibeles Square where you will also see the Buenavista Palace, the Cibeles Palace and the Linares Palace. Fuente de Neptuno on the other hand, is located in Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo.
Museums cannot resist the soccer madness and neither can you
During your visit to Madrid, try to squeeze in time for museum visits. Do you want to view the World Cup that the Spanish team won back in 2010? Visit Museo de la Selección Española de Fútbol for only six euros and gain all access to this and other trophies as well as the rich history of the Spanish National team. Jose Reyes, a local, described this museum as, “an original idea that is recommended for tourists; but a must for soccer fans.”
Museo de Cera, on the other hand, features wax figures of worldwide, acclaimed soccer stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinadine Zidane, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Fernando Torres and more. This museum offers the perfect chance of taking pictures, boomerangs and videos with the wax figure of your favorite players in its sports section where they also have a display of the Spanish team referencing the 2010 World Cup. The rest of the family would also love the other sections: Kids, History, Terror and Entertainment.
Watch a game at a sports bar
When madrileños (word that describes a native or inhabitant of Madrid) cannot physically attend soccer games, they usually do not watch the game at home; instead, they gather at sports bars to share drinks, chill and discuss soccer. My research suggested I visit “Cervecería Deportiva Sports Bar” because of its convenient location and prices. Carlos Montero, a 56-year-old bartender, encourages tourists to visit this sports bar by saying, “We show all types of sports here, especially soccer. We have several big screens and people watch games very comfortably here. For instance, during the recent UEFA Champions League final, several soccer fans came to see the match between Liverpool and Tottenham. It was a wonderful event.” This sports bar is unique which you will notice by looking at the soccer items from all Spanish teams that decorate the walls, roof and tables.
Gear yourself up to show-off your passion
There is no shortage of official stores in Madrid to buy your favorite soccer gear and souvenirs. Just like me, you can kill two birds with one stone if you go to Calle Gran Vía, the main artery of downtown Madrid, and check out the Official Stores of Real Madrid and/or Atletico de Madrid. From jerseys that can be personalized with your name and number to training apparel, caps, scarves, pins, lanyards, keychains, mugs and more so that you can spoil yourself or bring souvenirs home.
There is no doubt that soccer makes us all go crazy. You can refer to it as ‘soccer,’ ‘futbol,’ ‘balompié,’ or ‘the ball sport’ and no matter which one you prefer or where in the world you are, Madrid is always waiting for you with open arms and with a big smile because they love tourists just as much as they love soccer.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium:
Avda. de Concha Espina 1, Madrid, Spain.
Opening Hours: Open every day except December 25th and January 1st.
Prices: Adults €25, Children (up to 14 years old) €18.00.
Wanda Metropolitano Stadium:
Av. de Luis Aragonés, 4, Madrid, Spain.
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday (11 am – 9 pm). Fridays and holidays (11 am – 8 pm).
Prices: Adults €16.00. Children between 5 and 12 €8.00.
Museo de Cera:
Paseo de Recoletos, 41, Madrid, Spain.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 2pm and 4:30pm – 8pm. Weekends: 10am – 8pm.
Prices: Adults: €21.00. +65: €14.00. Kids between 4 and 12 years old: €14.00.
Museo de la Selección Española de Fútbol:
Calle de Ramón y Cajal s/n, Las Rozas, Madrid, Spain.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (9:30pm – 6:30pm)
Prices: Adults €6.00. Children €4.00.
Cervecería Deportiva Sports Bar:
Calle de Costanilla de los Ángeles, 12, Madrid, Spain.
Opening Hours: Everyday (1:00 pm – 2:00 am).
Atlético Madrid Store:
Calle Gran Vía, 47, 28013 Madrid.
Real Madrid Official Store:
Calle Gran Vía, 31, 28013 Madrid.
Edited by Julissa Ramirez.